Everyone has the ability to build mental strength, but most people don’t know how. We spend a lot of time talking about physical strength, but much less time on mental strength and mental health. We can choose to perform exercises that will help us learn to regulate our thoughts, manage our emotions, and behave productively despite our circumstances- the three basic factors of mental strength. No matter what your goals are, building mental strength is the key to reaching your greatest potential.
What our bad habits cost us?
Maybe you see someone with something you want and roll your eyes at them and say why not, it’s just a few seconds of my time—it can’t be hurting me. Well researchers have found that envying people can actually lead to depression. That’s just one of the traps our minds can set for us. Have you ever complained about your boss or looked at your friends life and thought, why do they have all the luck? Sometimes people can’t help thinking that way, right? That way of thinking, seems small in the moment, in fact it might make you feel better in the moment but that way of thinking is eating away at your mental strength. Here are six kinds of destructive beliefs that affect us and rob us of our mental strength.
1. Beliefs about ourselves
We tend to feel sorry for ourselves and while it’s ok to be sad when something bad happens self-pity goes beyond that. It’s when you start to magnify your misfortune. When you think things like why do these things always have to happen to me? I shouldn’t have to deal with it. That way of thinking keeps you stuck. It keeps you focused on the problem. It keeps you from finding a solution. And even when you can’t create a solution you can take steps to make your life or somebody else’s life better. But you can’t do that when you’re too busy hosting your own pity party.
2. Beliefs about others
Often times we think that people can control us and we give away our power. But as adults who live in a free country, there’s a very few things in life that you have to do. So when you say I have to work late you give away your power. Maybe there will be consequences if you don’t work late but it’s still a choice. Or when you say my boss drives me crazy. Maybe he’s not the nicest boss but it’s up to you how you respond to him because you’re in control.
3. Beliefs about the world
We tend to think that the world owes us something. We think if I put in enough hard work then I deserve success. But expecting success to fall into your lap like some sort of cosmic reward will only lead to disappointment. Realize that unpredictable, unplanned and disappointing things happen in everyone’s life.
4. Beliefs about shying away from change
Although circumstances can change quickly, humans often change at a much slower pace. Choosing to do something different requires you to adapt your thinking and change your behavior, will likely bring up some uncomfortable emotions. Learn to welcome change and be flexible. Understand that change is inevitable and believe in your ability to adapt.
5. Beliefs about things you can’t control
Worrying usually stems from a desire to control the outcome and the environment. And the more you control things the more anxious you’re likely to get. While it’s healthy to acknowledge that you do have control over some aspect in your life–it’s not healthy to think that you’re solely responsible for every outcome you encounter. You won’t hear a mentally strong person complaining over lost luggage or traffic jams. Instead, focus on what you can control in your life. Recognize that sometimes the only thing you can control is your attitude.
6. Beliefs on your past
If there’s a thing or two that pain will teach you in this lifetime, it’s how it feels to swim and how it feels to sink. We must learn both. A mentally strong person will acknowledge their past and learn from it. However, you don’t want to constantly relive bad experiences or fantasize about your glory days. Instead, you live for the present and plan for the future.
Finally, I know it’s hard to give up our bad mental habits. It’s hard to give up those unhealthy beliefs we’ve carried around with us for so long. But you can’t afford not to give them up. Because sooner or later, you’re going to need all the mental strength you can muster to set you up for a successful, happy, and rewarding life.